Merlin Entertainments has acquired Istanbul’s Turkuazoo aquarium, giving group a foothold in the burgeoning Turkish attractions market.
The deal was completed for an undisclosed sum with former operator Global Aquariums BV, based in The Netherlands.
According to a Merlin spokesperson, the company views the acquisition as the catalyst to potentially develop a cluster of its “midway” (short stay) attractions in the city, particularly given the aquarium’s very central location in the Istanbul Forum Mall in Bayrampassa.
Merlin already operates the world’s largest aquarium brand – Sea Life – which currently hosts around 14 million visitors a year at its 45 global outlets. The company now plans to invest in upgrading and expanding the facilities at Turkuazoo, putting even greater emphasis on the information and ‘fun learning’ elements.
One of Europe’s most vibrant and populous cities, bridging the gap with Asia, Istanbul welcomed the new Vialand theme park this summer and is already home to many Luna parks, shopping malls and other recreation outlets. Here and in other locations across Turkey, many more parks and attractions are promised in the coming years.
“We are delighted to be adding the Turkuazoo to our portfolio of marine attractions,” says Merlin’s managing director of Midway attractions, Glenn Earlam. “Istanbul offers us both a very significant domestic market as well as a fast growing tourist trade, and this is a wonderful site – big enough to be awe inspiring, but also very accessible for visitors.”